Monday, 10 November 2014

A tentative step back in to the blogging arena

What up, y'all. It's been a long time, a month as Eric @ Opticynicism rather pointedly noticed. I'm a crappy blogger, I know. I was on holiday for two weeks and then I was rolling-around-on-the-floor-crying levels of depressed about NOT being on holiday anymore for another two weeks. Where did I go, you cry? I went to Turkey. Yes, that's Turkey right next to Syria, right next to ISIS, now the actual frontline against ISIS -Turkey. Ya know, because nothing says 'great vacation' like the thrill of knowing a terrifying militia of murderous fucknuts are trying to invade.

Relax, it was fine - I was over 1000km from the Syrian border. I did post something about how I was gonna be away for two weeks so expect no usual idiotic dribbling and ranting from me but then I took it down... because burglars. I know the only people in my town that know about this blog are close friends, but they're also shifty bastards and cannot be trusted to not rob me. Welcome to the North.

I will do an actual post about my holiday in Turkey at some point because it was a confusing mix of wonderful and bizarre but I just wanted to do a short 'WHAT UP BITCHES! I'M BAAAAACK' post to get me back on the rhino (fuck horses). However, to apologise for being so lame I figured you deserve a little somethin' somethin' so here's a very short holiday video. We travelled to the deepest, darkest corner of Europe/slash/Asia and we bring you back the answer to the question that has long since been on everybody's lips. That question, as we all know, being: Is the Macerena still a thing? It turns out, in Turkey, it totally is. And here is proof... poorly filmed, dark and drunken proof:


Finally, I was inspired by Eric's recent Shit Denise Says post so I'm going to finish by ratting on my boyfriend because last night was a classic 'What the hell is wrong with you' moment. I don't know if anyone noticed but the moon was a funky shade of yellow. John, seemingly thrilled by this, rushed in to the living room where I was trying to work (read: piss about on Facebook, same-same) and exclaimed, "JADE! Look at the moon! It's all yellow!" When I went over to the window to see what the crazy bastard was yelling about I could see that it was, in fact, yellow. Hmm. John then said, "It thinks it's the sun!" (WHAT?) Then shouted, "YOU'RE NOT THE SUN, YOU STUPID MOON!!!" Yes, my actual boyfriend shouted at the actual moon last night... for being stupid.

On that note, I bid you farewell for now (hopefully not another month).

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Story Time: The List of My Desires by Gregoire Delacourt

Basically: Short, bittersweet and beautifully written.

I don't know how to go about this. It wasn't long ago I was wanging on about depressing books driving me crazy and this is a pretty depressing book… but it’s also so really fucking good! It's about a simple woman living a simple life with a simple husband. Her husband, actually, comes across as a bit of a selfish arsehole and I found myself thinking, "God, why do women stay with losers like this?" But she is happy, she loves him regardless of his (many) faults and fuck, isn't that beautiful? Much more beautiful than my previous view, ‘This human thing is broken, fetch me a better one!’

So happy is this woman with her small-town life and comfortable marriage that when she wins the jackpot in the Euro Millions lottery she doesn't tell anyone. She doesn't even cash the cheque! Most of us would be boarding planes to tropical destinations shortly after becoming millionaires but this woman stays put, slowly and quietly contemplating how best to deal with the cash and compiling the list of her desires. It’s a very refreshing and unusual response and you find yourself unable to decide whether she’s mad or inspirational. But then… well, I won’t ruin it, other than to say that Jocelyne is not rewarded for her love for her life and the people in it.

Delacourt has created an incredibly bittersweet tale and it’s hard, at first read, not to think the final take-home message is, ‘SUCK IT, NICE PEOPLE, life is gonna get you in the end!’ However, a more positive person might reach a different conclusion. They might decide that actually, the book is simply saying that money changes your life and your relationships, and not always for the better. For those of us struggling through austerity and praying for a lottery win because we haven’t had a paid rise in years, can’t seem to find a better job and just don’t know what else to do, this book is an excellent reminder that money does not solve all problems. Happiness is a choice not an increase in funding. Happiness is in simple things, like pride in your work, or a book, or a smile - not in being able to afford a bigger house or a nicer car.

Verdict: Well worth a read.

Monday, 6 October 2014

How to Manage Your Stylist - A Lesson in Hindsight

So this weekend, in a fickle free-spirited attempt to inject some sort of change or drama in to my life I had a fringe cut in (that's bangs to y'all 'Muricans). It's a really thick fringe but the back of my hair is still really long. I'm not going to lie to you or play this down – it’s basically a mullet. I pretty much walked in to that salon looking like Kristen Stewart and I walked out looking like Rod Stewart. As far as transformations go, that is the mother of all fuck-ups. I can’t even tie my hair back and wait for it to grow out because then I look like this...

Lesbian chic
Yeah, 1980’s rocker mullet or man-boy singing sensation – they are my basic looks now. I think you'll all agree they are two VERY strong looks. Strong for a boy, sure, but whatever, I'm not going to be tied down by your antiquated societal gender norms or trends, okay?! Plus if I wear huge trailer-trash earrings people can still tell I'm a chick so it's fine.

Now I know I could cry and scream and blame the hairdresser but I know, deep down, this was my own doing. I was completely unprepared. And you know what they say, “Fail to prepare, prepare to end up with a mullet.’ So to save anyone else from ever having to leave their hairdressers with an unwanted mullet or otherwise looking like a complete tool, I'm going to give out some basic tips based on my own experience. You can look elsewhere for the usual 'Styles to suit your face shape' BS because that's just witchcraft anyway. This is a guide to managing your experience when opting for a drastic hair transformation.

Step 1 - Think about your style IN ADVANCE

When I walked in to the hairdressers on Saturday morning I made an impulse decision to change my look. ‘Fringe’ popped in to my head and ‘Fringe’ is what I asked for. But the second the stylist made that first tentative cut to the front of my hair and about 12 inches of hair fell off in to my lap I started to hyperventilate. I hadn't thought it through, what if it looked terrible? What kind of fringe did I even want? Front, side, long, short? WHY COULDN'T I ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?!? How could she get this right if I couldn't even tell her what 'right' was??? Having given extensive thought to your change in style will enable you to avoid crying on the pavement outside the salon, beating the ground with your fist, screaming, "WHY GOD? WWWHHHYYY???"

Step 2 - Have a picture to show your stylist

Take a photo, a magazine or a picture on your phone, something physical that you can point to and say, "Make me look EXACTLY like that." Words are subjective, style is subjective. So while you might say 'fringe but long in the back’ and be thinking  Zooey Deschanel a la New Girl, your Stylist might be thinking 'fringe but long in the back' like David Bowie in Labyrinth. There's a big difference and you don't wanna get caught on the wrong side of that confusion.

Only Bowie can pull this off

Step 3 - Ask for a countdown 

As I mentioned above, the first cut to my fringe made me recoil in horror. My stylist asked if I was okay and whether this was what I wanted. The only words I could gasp around my desperate breaths were, "Well it's a bit [INHALE] fucking late [INHALE] to say 'No' [INHALE] now, isn't it?!" If you're making drastic hair changes and you're still not sure about it when you sit in the chair - Ask for a countdown. What do I mean? I mean tell that bitch to grab the first bit of hair that's going to be chopped super short and say, out loud and in advance, "Okay, I'm going to cut ALL OF THIS OFF in 5, 4, 3, 2 aaaaannnnddd gone." That way, if you need to chicken out last second, you can. And you're now the person who 'Just had a trim' instead of 'That chick with the mullet.' You're welcome.

Step 4 – Examine, adjust, repeat 

There’s a weird chunk of hair that’s longer than the rest, it’s got something of a rat tale quality to it. Find it, point to it, request alteration. Do not worry that your stylist has been whinging her bag off about being run off her feet and how her next appointment should have started 10 minutes ago. Their inability to stick to appointment times is not your concern, living with an unwanted bowl cut/mullet/rat tail IS your concern. Any thoughts along the lines of, 'Oh I'll just tidy this up myself at home' are foolish and you will end up looking like Noel Fielding. This is fine if you're a Camden Town hipster... not so much if you're a small town girl that works in an office.

Noel Fielding - Hair Sensation
Note: That last tip only works when: the cut isn't short enough; you can see uneven layers or length; or excessive thickness where you requested thinning out. This tip can and should be ignored if the stylist has cut too much hair off and/or she's already made you look like Noel Fielding and you suspect she may be drunk or high or simply an evil psychopath. If this is the case just start crying immediately and demand to see a manager.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Is it just me, or is my boyfriend insane?

I’ve thought for a while now that my poor, sweet boyfriend may actually be insane. For today’s post I've put together a few of his more recent quotes that I am hoping are simply evidence of comedic genius, rather than a giant cry for psychological assessment. I’ll let you be the judge of whether I need to call the men in the white coats or not…

He recently told me that if I was a smell, I would be bacon. To which I responded, "Umm... thanks, I guess." His reaction was a little OTT:

"What do you mean 'thanks, I guess'??? I've just bestowed upon you the greatest compliment known by man or beast! Fuck Bastille wanging on about filling soul holes! And Bedingfield can shit right off for being impressed about having hands that fit together!* NO, DOUCHBAGS! Your lyrics are worse than ear AIDS! It's all about smelling like bacon. Well, not actually smelling like bacon, but letting you know that if you were a smell (rather than a human woman), you would be the smell of bacon. See?!" 
* These crazy outbursts are based on song lyrics, just FYI.

The other day he emailed me to tell me how work was going:

"I've just had the most cringey meeting with a sales moron from a waste company, she said, 'Thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me'; 'You're obviously very clever,' and 'Ooohh, what a lovely portacabin you work in,' about a million times. I wanted to shout 'You're here to try and get your grubby hands all up and about in my products so just tell me how much coin you're gonna pay and then fuck off!" 

 He later calmed down and reassessed said sales morons excessive niceties:
 "I'm beginning to wonder if maybe she had Tourettes but she's trained herself to say odd pleasantries rather than things like 'CUNTING PISS-FLAPS?!’" 

And a recent favourite, upon asking boyfriend how his day was going and whether he was getting a lot done, he replied with:

"I've just done a bit of staring this afternoon really, not at anything in particular, I've just stared 'a thing' for a while and then, when I thought I'd stared long enough (i.e. just before the point of drawing attention to myself) I'd turn my head a bit and stare at something else."

So, on a scale of one to very, how worried should I be?

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Story Time: Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh

You're going to need a stiff drink
In short: Errrrrrrrrr...

First up, this book is not a novel. It's a collection of semi-autobiographical short-stories which the author admits are 68% true, 32% not-so-much. That's an unsettling balance when you actually read the thing because the author tackles an array of harrowing subjects from mental illness to grief to rape.

The stories are written using an impressively broad range of writing styles, voices and tenses so I can't fault her ambition and prowess. That said, I'd be lying if I said I liked this book. It started off so gripping but by the end I was pretty sick of it and really forcing myself to turn the pages. Every single chapter seemed to be depressing and bizarre. I couldn't relate to the protagonist, in fact if we were Facebook friends I'd probably block her updates from my news feed.

There's a point in the book where the lead character is stroking her stomach and cooing "baby, baby, baby, baby, baby." Aww, that's quite a sweet thing for a pregnant woman to do. Yeah, except she's not fucking pregnant; she's not even trying for a baby. She's just being melodramatic. AGAIN. Like another time where she fingers herself whilst thinking about that oft-overlooked mastermind of erotica ANNE FRANK (yes, Nazi hunted Anne Frank). Yeah, that happens.

There's only so much of this kind of crap that any one book should contain. This book shoots way past the limit and there comes a tipping point where everything goes from being intimate and thought-provoking to just sounding like some drunk chick at a party talking about how many guys she's fucked in gory detail in a desperate bid to show how cool and edgy she is. As much as I applaud the author’s efforts for tackling difficult subjects with style and imagination, I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed reading it.

Verdict: Leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

"Oh, I'm fine. It's just that life is pointless and nothing matters and I'm always tired."

Quick note: I stole the title for this blog post from Parks and Recreation. Please don't sue me, Andy Dwyer.

HELP ME! I can't stop reading depressing books. I never at any point sat down and thought, "Do you know what's missing from my life? Lots and lots of books about schizophrenia and depression and people cutting themselves. Yeah, that's what I need right now." Nope, I never decided this but for some reason, the past 4 or 5 books I've read have involved someone with a mental illness who at some point thinks about suicide or hurting themselves or hurting someone else. These books should come with warnings attached. I'm not sure what kind of warning exactly. Something like…

I'm halfway through yet another gut-twisting gloom-a-thon of a novel but then after that I'm switching to rom-coms and comedies, I swear. I know that is exactly what most addicts sound like ("Just one more... this is the last time... I promise...") but honestly, it's true because every time my boyfriend is out I’ll wind up reading for just a few minutes and then I find myself on the floor, curling in to the foetal position with the bloodshot crazy eyes of a woman who just realised life is meaningless.

I'm a bit unstable as it is, I'm usually surfing a knife edge of normalcy and at any moment I could fall off the edge and either go right in to the 24 hour fun factory complete with clowns, cakes and a giant bouncy castle made of Haribo gums where every day is Saturday (WOOOHOOO, BACON SAMMICH DAY!) OR left in to the cold, grey pit of despair and anxiety and paranoia (That guy I don’t even know just looked at me funny, HE MUST HATE ME!). Trust me; you’d be better off being stuck in a lift with that creepy kid from The Ring than with me on a bad day. I should really only be allowed to watch shows on Comedy Central and read books by Helen Fielding for this very reason. Sure, it means I sing a lot (badly) and dance around a lot (equally badly) and yes, it's like having an ADHD riddled toddler around - but it's way less depressing than seeing me mope around the house like a bad fart that just won't dissipate.

Case in point: Yesterday my boyfriend was out and I knew I needed to cheer myself up so I went to the supermarket for some comfort food. I bought three ready meals for one and a small mountain of profiteroles. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and looking forward to getting home and basically diving face first in to those sweet, sweet profiteroles. That lasted for a full five minutes, right up until the lady at the checkout looked at my ready meals, then looked at me, then looked at my profiteroles, then looked back at me and then gave me this sort of weak and pitying smile that 100% said, 'Oh, you poor girl.' And just like that I was back to being a fart again. I should really be used to this sort of thing. One time I had the house to myself for a weekend, so I rocked up at my local Asda for multiple pizzas and as much cake as I could possibly carry and this exchange occured:

          Checkout lady: "Ooooh, getting ready for a children’s party or something?"
          Me: "Nope."

But at least that was a good day, so I was confident in my 'nope' and didn't feel like I had to justify my dietary choices to total strangers. Yesterday was a bit different, I almost wanted to blurt out, "I don't live by myself with an army of cats or anything, I’ve just had a bad day, IS THAT OKAY WITH YOU, JUDGEY McJUDGERSON?!" I didn't though. I was too busy being a fart, and farts don’t talk.

Anyway, in summary, that is why I have to stop reading depressing books for a while, which is a bit disappointing because some of the depressing books I have been reading are really good. Anyone got any recommendations for good books that WON’T turn me in to a fart?


Also, I’d like to give a big shout out to the wonderful, the fabulous, the profane Eric at Opticynicism for checking up on me via Twitter and making sure I wasn't dead, which was really very nice of him. Check out his blog, it's way less farty than mine.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Pleb's Countryside Highlights

I recently took a trip to the Lake District for a bit of fresh air and nature frolicking and it was incredible. There’s something about being out in nature that gives you a wonderful sense of calm and contentment, which, if you've read this blog much, you’ll know is not my natural state. If like me you’re a little tightly wound, here’s my top 5 reasons for ditching the sofa and heading out in to the wild for a few days.

1. Advertising

Ahhh nature, advert free since ‘83 (actually advert free since forever, but that doesn’t rhyme). Advertising is huge pet peeve of mine and if it’s not one of yours, let me tell you why it should be. 1. It’s relentless: it screams at you from billboards as you commute to work; it lurks at the side of every website; it rudely interrupts you viewing pleasure as you watch tv – there’s no escape in the modern world! 2. Advertising consists mostly of condescending, idiotic nonsense. By way of example, the current Müllerlight Desserts advert drives me crazy. You know the one, "If I had 3 wishes, I'd wish for a bubble bath, a fireman and for this [mousse] to be 99 calories." Why would she make such insubstantial wishes?! And if she must, why would she not wish for zero calories?!? Or even negative calories like celery?!?! 99 calories is not even low, Aero chocolate mousse is only 94 calories. And don’t even get me started on Nicole Scherzinger faking a "müllerlicious" mouth-gasm, again in the name of flogging us yoghurts. Luckily, as yet, the bastards have not taken to stamping ‘EAT THIS FUCKING YOGHURT’ on the rolling hills of Cumbria, and so a brief spell in the Lake District offers much needed relief from the constant barrage of mental abuse.

2. Exercise

I work in an office, which means the most exercise I get all day is when I get out of and then back in to my car. By the time I've finished my eight hour sit-a-thon and completed the forty-five minute drive home, stretching my stiff mannequin-like frame out in to a standing position seems like a Herculean accomplishment. The idea of then going to the gym or for a run just seems insane. I've already sat in a place I don’t want to sit all day, I'm now going to a different place I don’t want to be for a run?! No thank you, fitness freaks. However, heading to the picturesque hills of the countryside for long treks, hopping across river stepping stones and clambering over styles like I'm fucking Heidi or something, now that’s something I can get on board with.

3. Wildlife

There must be something about being an office drone that makes me more prone to outbursts of unexplainable excitement but there really is something about seeing an animal in its natural habitat that makes me crazy happy. I once saw a shrew, this was my reaction: ‘A SHREW! A FUCKING SHREW! DID YOU SEE THAT SHREW! IT WAS RIGHT THERE! OHHH MAAAA GAAAWWDDD! A SHREEEEWWWWW!’ I guess I need to get out more, but as you can see, I'm working on that.

4. Clean Air

For forty hours a week I sit under an air-conditioning unit that hangs there just sucking in everyone’s germs and then spewing them back out at me. If you can relate, I can promise you that there is other air out there. Air that hasn't already repeatedly been inhaled and exhaled by all of your virus-riddled colleagues before reaching you. That air, my friend, is out in the nature. Go get some, it’s sweet and fresh and probably even has magical powers… (unless it's ‘muck spreading’ season and then it just smells like shit).

5. This…

 Sure you can see views like that on your tv, but trust me, it’s nowhere near as satisfying.